By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
People look at those who are successful and marvel at their talents. We watch the all-star basketballs players win championship titles and talk about how gifted they are. We watch great golfers win one tournament after another and think they were born with a special gift. We watch artists turn out one masterpiece after another and wish we were born with such uck. We watch people who are billionaires top the richest person in the world list and wonder at their gift at business. Little do we realize that anyone who has attained anything in life has put in a tremendous amount of effort to get where they are.
In this connection, there is an anecdote from the life of Sir Winston Churchill, one of the great prime ministers of England. It took him three years to pass the eighth grade because he had trouble with English. One can imagine how much difficulty one would have to take three years to pass a single grade.
Years later he was invited by Oxford University to give the commencement address to its students. How ironic that the boy who could not pass eighth grade was now addressing the graduates of the most prestigious university in the world.
He arrived at the auditorium with his usual top hat and cigar and walking with his cane. He stood at the podium. With great pomp he set down the cane, took off his top hat, and set it on the lectern. He gazed out at the waiting audience, who was hanging on his every word. He took the cigar out of his mouth, and with great authority, boomed into the microphone, “Never give up.” The audience waited breathlessly for his next words. He paused a few seconds and then leaned towards the mike again and said, “Never give up.”
The audience was dead silent waiting for his next words. Sir Winston Churchill then put his hat back on, took his cane, and walked off the stage. That was his entire commencement speech.
The message he gave the audience that day was one that applies to each of us. He knew that he had reached his great stature in life despite his struggle in school. He knew that his success was not a gift but due to hard work. What he was telling the graduates was that success was not a gift with which one is born; success lies in never giving up.
Few people see that the basketball player who wins all the championships is practicing on the basketball hoop all day and night, day after day, while others have to be forced by the coach to even show up on time for practice. Few see how the championship golfer is practicing hitting thousands and thousands of balls and doing tedious drills day after day, year after year, to get to where they are. Few see how many hours the artist put in to perfect his or her art. Few see how many business losses and failed attempts to make money the billionaire had to go through before he was successful. Anyone who has achieved anything in life has done so by being persistent and never giving up.
If we wish to attain our goal in the spiritual field, we must never give up. We have a long way to go from where we are now to attain divine knowledge. Although spiritual gifts are within us, closer to us than the veins in our body, we have to perfect the technique of finding them. Spiritual realization is so close yet so far due to the inability of us to still our mind, quiet our thoughts, and stay focused long enough to go within. We are hindered by the millions of distractions in the world that keep pulling our attention outside instead of letting us go within.
Meditation provides a way to perfect our ability to stay focused within to find inner treasures. Through meditation, we perfect our ability to increase our concentration.
We learn patience and perseverance. These two qualities help us progress spiritually within and will help us also achieve success in the outer world. It takes practice. We will not achieve our goal if we give up. We must never give up.
Each day, we are one day closer to achieving our goal. We should not let our failure cause us to give up. Sir Winston Churchill could have given up after failing eighth grade the first time. But he stuck with it. He could have given up after failing eighth grade the second time. But he did not give up. It was on the third try that he finally was promoted.
There is a simple technique called Jyoti meditation, which increases the ability to concentrate and stay focused. To do this, select a pose that is most convenient in which you can sit the longest. Close your eyes. Your eyes should be relaxed as they are when you go to sleep. Focus your attention into the middle of the field of darkness lying in front of you. Your eyes should be focused about ten to twelve inches in front of you in the horizontal plane. As you fix your gaze, mentally repeat any name of God with which you feel comfortable. As you continue to meditate, experience the inner peace and bliss.
As you do this, you will daily increase your ability to stay focused. By practicing this each day, you will find an increase in your patience and perseverance, which will become a habit even in your endeavors in the world. Thus, you will find greater ability to persevere in any worldly or spiritual goal you have until you succeed.
Similarly, if we do not succeed in meditation one day, we should not give up and stop meditating altogether. We should sit again the following time. If we do not succeed, we should sit again. Day by day, we will find that we will begin to improve, until finally we will achieve success.
In meditation, improvement is measured in the ability to keep our body and mind stilled and to keep our gaze focused in the field of darkness or light lying in front of us.
We must continue to keep our attention focused without any intervening thoughts. We should keep trying again and again. We should never give up. Then we will find that one day we will achieve our goal.